A surf hit of eggcorns

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The following delightful essay, composed with a rich dollop of deliberate eggcorns, is making its way around the web via repostings and emailings (thanks to Brad Daniels for showing it to me). I have no idea where it originally came from. Can anyone identify its origin? (Con mints, be leave it or not, are open billow.)

I am sorry to be the baron of bad news, but you seem buttered, so allow me to play doubles advocate here for a moment. For all intensive purposes I think you are wrong. In an age where false morals are a diamond dozen, true virtues are a blessing in the skies, and are more than just ice king on the cake. We often put our false morality on a petal stool like a bunch of pre-Madonnas, but you all seem to be taking something very valuable for granite.

So I ask of you to mustard up all the strength you can because it is a doggy dog world out there. Although there is some merit to what you are saying it seems like you have a huge ship on your shoulder. In your argument you seem to throw everything in but the kids Nsync, and even though you are having a feel day with this I am here to bring you back into reality.

I have a sick sense when it comes to these types of things. It is almost spooky, because I cannot turn a blonde eye to these glaring flaws in your rhetoric. I have zero taller ants when it comes to people spouting out hate in the name of moral righteousness. You just need to remember what comes around is all around, and when supply and command fails you will be the first to go.

Make my words, when you get down to brass stacks it doesn't take rocket appliances to get two birds stoned at once. It's clear who makes the pants in this relationship, and sometimes you just have to swallow your prize and accept the fax, instead of making a half-harded effort. You might have to come to this conclusion through denial and error but I swear on my mother's mating name that when you put the petal to the medal you will pass with flying carpets like it's a peach of cake.

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41 Comments »

  1. Peter said,

    May 3, 2012 @ 2:27 am

    Probably somewhere around making the pants and swearing on their mother's mating name, they probably should've said something about smelling like colon

  2. RF said,

    May 3, 2012 @ 3:42 am

    Not sure about the essay itself (seems to have shown up online around March 2011?) but some Googling reveals that a number of the phrases come from a character named Ricky on a Canadian television show called "Trailer Park Boys." I found this compilation, which contains (along with a lot of profanity) the phrases:

    supply & command
    make my words
    mating name
    rocket appliances
    denial and error
    get two birds stoned at once
    swallow my prize
    clear who makes the pants
    peach and cake
    passed with flying carpets
    what comes around is all around

    The producers also briefly share their thoughts on these "Rickyisms."

  3. Kahomono said,

    May 3, 2012 @ 3:59 am

    I don't know about this – I might have had to take another tact.

  4. Mark Milan said,

    May 3, 2012 @ 5:51 am

    This isn't related to this post, but I was wondering if you bods at language log saw this: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2138791/Texting-tweeting-social-networking-damaging-childrens-ability-communicate-says-Pratchett.html

    [(myl) No. But rather than arguing by proxy against an elderly author with Alzheimer's, I'll consider the source:


    ]

  5. Rodger C said,

    May 3, 2012 @ 7:02 am

    I just saw this yesterday in a student's paper, in praise of a character: "She is a dime in a dozen."

  6. M Gaughen said,

    May 3, 2012 @ 7:18 am

    Back in the late 80's-early 90's when I was at UC Santa Cruz, I remember a little publication called The Village Idiom. In one issue there was a piece titled "Ladle Rat Rotten Hut." Every single word was subbed out for another in the Little Red Riding Hood story, so I am not sure if it qualifies as an eggcorn. If your read it aloud, you sounded not unlike Roseanne Rosannadanna.

    [(myl) I believe that "Ladle Rat Rotten Hut" came from Howard Chace in 1955. See also his 1956 Anguish Languish.]

  7. Sean McAleer said,

    May 3, 2012 @ 7:35 am

    This should all be taken with a grain assault.

  8. Grep Agni said,

    May 3, 2012 @ 7:37 am

    One phrase is totally opaque for me — "but you seem buttered". The only substitute I can think of is perturbed which has a completely different stress pattern.

    Pleas help, Maybe?

  9. Luke said,

    May 3, 2012 @ 7:47 am

    In the days when lawyers dictated things to secretaries, a colleague referred to insurance contracts being "uberrimae fidei". That came out as "you bury me if I die."

  10. Clavis said,

    May 3, 2012 @ 8:03 am

    I think "but you seem buttered" is supposed to be for "but you seem bothered".

  11. Grover Jones said,

    May 3, 2012 @ 8:08 am

    @ Greg.

    I have no idea; was wondering the same thing.

  12. Dustin said,

    May 3, 2012 @ 8:13 am

    I don't know if it's him and google didn't help, but this reminds me a lot of Jack Handey.

  13. Rube said,

    May 3, 2012 @ 8:17 am

    @ Luke:

    If I'd ever gotten back something that made that much sense and was that funny back when I gave dictation, I would have kissed the secretary.

    God, keyboarding is so much better, and such a huge change in the profession over the course of my career.

  14. stephen said,

    May 3, 2012 @ 8:54 am

    From Craigslist:

    - Seamint mixer

    - Estelline tank.
    This one has a story. I saw it on Craigslist and was curious because there is a tiny town in West Texas named Estelline near my hometown; I was surprised that they made tanks in such a small place. I opened up the ad to look at a picture, and saw an acetylene tank. Moreover, the word 'Acetylene' was in bold letters across the tank as required by U.S. law.

  15. peters said,

    May 3, 2012 @ 8:58 am

    I've no idea of the origins of that bit, but would like to take advantage of this rare opportunity to unload comments on nine or ten of your earlier posts when you stuck your fingers in your ears and forbade comments.

    Kidding.

  16. Hugo said,

    May 3, 2012 @ 9:54 am

    @Grep Agni:

    I understand it as "you seem bothered".

  17. Hugo said,

    May 3, 2012 @ 10:03 am

    (Forgot to refresh the page before commenting, so my comment came out a little late…)

    @stephen:

    I wouldn't be surprised if the author of the Craigslist posting genuinely thought that "estelline" was the right way of spelling it, and might have thought that "Acetylene" could be the company's name, a trademark, or something like that. It could make sense to market a product using some kind of crafted homonym.

  18. Xiao Yao said,

    May 3, 2012 @ 10:33 am

    Reminds me of Goodman Ace.

  19. Christopher Henrich said,

    May 3, 2012 @ 11:00 am

    "Petal to the medal"? As I understand it[1], in contemporary American pronunciation, "pedal", "petal," and "peddle" are homonyms, as are "medal", "mettle", "metal", and "meddle." So this is a purely written eggcorn.

    [1] But if you asked me I would swear that I use a voiceless stop when I say "metal."

  20. Sevly said,

    May 3, 2012 @ 11:53 am

    Grep Agni said,
    One phrase is totally opaque for me — "but you seem buttered". The only substitute I can think of is perturbed which has a completely different stress pattern.

    Pleas help, Maybe?

    Clavis said,
    I think "but you seem buttered" is supposed to be for "but you seem bothered".

    Hugo said,
    I understand it as "you seem bothered".

    Hmm, I thought that it was supposed to be "you seem battered". The meaning of the whole sentence is odd though: I hate to bear bad news, but you seem tired and dejected so I'll just go ahead. Wait, what?

  21. Mark F. said,

    May 3, 2012 @ 11:58 am

    The "Rickyisms" that RF mentions are distinct from the other eggcorns in that they seem less like mishearings than misrememberings. For instance, there's a clear difference between "feel day" and "petal stool" on the one hand, and "rocket appliances" and "get two birds stoned at once" on the other. So I'd say internal textual evidence alone already supports the idea of multiple ur-texts, with the "appliances" kind of mistakes coming from a source we could call R, and the rest from some other source.

  22. Nathan Myers said,

    May 3, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

    "Raucous signist" would work better than "rocket appliance".

  23. nanette furman said,

    May 3, 2012 @ 4:11 pm

    C. Heinrich–

    Meddle, medal-same
    Metal, mettle-same

    For me. There is a subtle difference between those two groupings, and I am middle America, so to speak :) But old, never forget being old.

  24. John said,

    May 3, 2012 @ 8:33 pm

    Ms furman and I must be in the same demographic as I share her observation.

  25. Dmajor said,

    May 4, 2012 @ 12:03 am

    This essay is so full of moe juice!

  26. Jason said,

    May 4, 2012 @ 2:29 am

    Some of these are surely simple malapropisms, rather than eggcorns. "Pass with flying carpets" scarcely seems to count as phonetic reanalysis, no matter how generous you are feeling.

  27. a George said,

    May 4, 2012 @ 6:04 am

    In the proceedings of a conference that took place in 1987 in Germany we find this in the transcript of the recordings of the discussions: "Provided you use a cracked tension, I do not see that the thickness …… is so critical a factor, ……".

    This was spoken with a to European ears very American accent, and the transcriber was most likely German. The tension was completely unharmed – it was "correct". If I understand the concept of eggcorns correctly, this is not one, because the result is meaningless as content goes. But it is a good phonetic transcription of this person's utterance!

  28. RLH said,

    May 4, 2012 @ 6:50 am

    The earliest dates I could find for postings of this piece on the internet were all Feb 2011.

    seem buttered = seem buggered

  29. Harboldry Snark said,

    May 4, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

    I was befuddled by "buttered," too.

  30. SeaDrive said,

    May 4, 2012 @ 2:35 pm

    In the comments to a post on the Volokh Conspiracy(http://volokh.com/2012/05/03/59572/), a contributor going by "Mitch I" posted a nice little essay about Obama's Government Horrorculture featuring similar work substitution.

  31. maidhc said,

    May 4, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

    I've seen "doggy dog world" attributed to Samuel Goldwyn. But then he was a magnet for this type of thing. Apparently it was a minor sport for Hollywood screenwriters to invent Goldwynisms and try to get them into print.

  32. Ronald Kephart said,

    May 5, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

    Isn't it the case that some speakers have a shorter vowel in petal/metal than in pedal/medal?

    [(myl) It's always hard to prove a negative, but I'd be surprised to see this in Americans who have the flapping/voicing pattern, other than in cases of facultative disambiguation. Can you cite a study or provide some data?]

  33. Nathan Myers said,

    May 6, 2012 @ 3:17 pm

    I swear this is God Zone truth.

    New Zealanders have been calling their islands "Godzone" for a long time, shortened from "God's own country".

  34. Sandy D. said,

    May 6, 2012 @ 6:43 pm

    Does the use of "Wayne's Coating" for wainscoting qualify as an eggcorn? That and "Tushay" (said in response to someone making someone else the *butt* of a joke) are my favorite mistakes from an online forum.

  35. Seonachan said,

    May 6, 2012 @ 10:11 pm

    There are indeed a lot of Rickyisms in there, mostly in the last couple of paragraphs. The last one isn't quite right, though: it's "peach and cake", not "a peach of cake". I'm disappointed that "worst case Ontario" and "I don't need your cherry trees" didn't make it in there.

    Here's a compilation (nsfw):
    http://youtu.be/Jfq3c4Cf1Fs

  36. Adam said,

    May 7, 2012 @ 12:50 pm

    On Dharma & Greg (TV show), Dharma said "doggy dog world", and when Greg tried to correct her, she said "That's ridiculous. Have you ever seen a dog eat another dog?"

  37. L'Esprit de l'Escalier said,

    May 8, 2012 @ 2:02 pm

    @Ronald Kephart:

    This would be a good topic for a phonetics lecher.

  38. Steve T said,

    May 10, 2012 @ 10:13 pm

    For me "buttered" is "butt hurt".

  39. Tracy Hall said,

    May 14, 2012 @ 3:08 am

    I don't know the source of that delightful essay, but I do know where to find several others of its ilk:

    http://myimaginaryblog.wordpress.com/malaprops/

  40. Anonymous said,

    June 12, 2013 @ 2:53 pm

    "Doubles advocate" leads me to believe it comes from the chan culture. They also love playing around with language.

  41. Karl Larew said,

    March 10, 2014 @ 9:51 am

    some of these show up regularly in my students' essays/papers

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